SAN ANTONIO by linxiaoqin






 Commissioners Court


Bexar county commissioners court
Nelson W. wolff, county judge
Sergio “Chico” rodriguez, commissioner, precinct 1
Paul elizondo, commissioner, precinct 2
Kevin wolff, commissioner, precinct 3
Tommy adkisson, commissioner, precinct 4

City council of San antonio
                       Julián castro, mayor
Mary alice p. cisneros,             Ray lopez, district 6
      District 1                    Justin Rodriguez, district 7
Ivy r. taylor, district 2           w. reed Williams, district 8
Jennifer v. ramos, district 3       elisa chan, district 9
Phillip a. cortez, district 4       john g. clamp, district 10
David medina, jr., district 5

San Antonio River Authority
Gaylon j. oehlke, chairman, karnes
Sally Buchanan, vice chair, bexar
Roberto g. rodríguez, secretary, bexar
Terry e. baiamonte, treasurer, goliad
a.d. “al” kollodziej, jr., Wilson
hector r. morales, bexar
john j. flieller, Wilson
Michael w. lackey, p.e., bexar
Názirite rubén pérez, bexar
h.b. “trip” ruckman III, karnes
adair r. Sutherland, goliad
Thomas g. weaver, bexar


Bexar county
Joe A. Aceves, P.E., executive Director Infrastructure services
Betty Bueche, facilities division Manager
Jerry smith, parks manager

City of San antonio
Lori Houston, economic development manager
Patrick Howard, asst. dir., planning & development services
Michael Taylor, senior management analyst
Shannon Peterson Wasielewski, historic preservation officer
Kay hindes, city archaeologist
Jonathan lane, senior management analyst
Xavier urrutia, director, parks & recreation
Kristine Egan, Senior GIS Analyst

San Antonio River Authority
Suzanne b. scott, general manager
Brian Mast, intergovernmental relations specialist
Karen bishop, executive services supervisor

National park service
Scott Bentley, superintendent
Al remley, chief of interpretation

los compadres
susan chandoha, executive director

archdiocese of san Antonio
reverend david Garcia, director, old Spanish missions

                  TABLE OF CONTENTS

     1. Introduction
     2. river improvement History
     3. RIVER SOUTH Area
           Area DESCRIPTION
           land use
    4. Policy guidelines
           City of San antonio master plan policy
           Neighborhood and zoning plans
           Infill and reinvestment
           National park service criteria
           Interlocal agreements

The plan
    Vision statement
           1. return
    Objectives: historic resources
                Worldwide recognition
                NpS Boundaries
           2. Restore
    Objectives: natural resources and ecosystems
                user-friendly spaces
                healthy, safe, sustainable infrastructure
                ecological management and use

                   TABLE OF CONTENTS
          3. revitalize
    objectives: economic development
                Economic Diversity and job creation
                Business/government relationships
                business start-ups and growth
                housing and infill
                tools for Commercial and residential opportunities

Recommendations and action steps
    governance structure
    action items and responsible parties

    list of illustrations



Since the 1950s Bexar County has grown, stretching its original
borders and, beyond the confines of the San Antonio River, its
birthplace. During that time, efforts to manage the River during
flood events and allowing for controlled flow throughout the year
resulted in a complete change in its characteristics. It shifted from
gentle sloped banks to concrete channels moving water efficiently
throughout the City of San Antonio.

In the meantime, the neighborhoods bordering the River turned their
backs to it, its role as the area’s historic beginnings all but forgotten.
At the turn of this century, that role was reversed. In the late 1990s,
the Bexar County Commissioners Court, the City of San Antonio and
the San Antonio River Authority began an unprecedented cooperative
effort to restore all 13 miles of the San Antonio River to its rightful
place in history.

The northern segment of River Improvements was completed in
2009. Attention was then turned to the southern segment—the
Mission Reach. Not only was this part of the river dramatically altered
by channelization, it ignored the Missions—the very fact of San
Antonio’s existence.

Commissioners Court unanimously moved to allocate over $207
million and staff to work with its partners and the National Park
Service to return the river to its beginnings with full scale renovations
for planning, design and construction efforts to restore and revitalize
the Mission Reach.

In its vision for the Mission Reach, the Court has mandated that a
Coordinated Management Plan be developed and implemented for
the partners to establish operational, maintenance, security and
economic development opportunities.

The Coordinated Management Plan will:

  1. Protect the community’s investment in the redeveloped River.
  2. Maximize the return on investment and promote economic
  3. Establish a coordinated framework among agencies for
     essential functions.
  4. Ensure seamless, integrated management of the river and
     related areas.
  5. Promote National Park Service boundary study and land
     management plan.

The Court’s leadership in this effort ensures that the Mission Reach’s
success goes beyond construction. Its history, cultural legacy and
educational and recreational opportunities signal the commitment for
a long-term management program that will serve generations to

The major tenets of the Court’s efforts to protect, promote and
coordinate all facets of the Mission Reach project result in a
concerted management program. These tenets bestow the Mission
Reach as our foundation and legacy.

    river south area
coordinated management


              river south area coordinated
                    management plan



The River South Area Coordinated Management Plan is the
culmination of a collaborative effort among the leadership of Bexar
County Commissioners Court, the San Antonio River Authority
(hereinafter ―SARA‖), the City Council of San Antonio and the
National Park Service (hereinafter ―NPS‖).

With the successful and timely completion of the Museum Reach
section of the San Antonio River Improvements Project, attention was
then focused on the southern portion—the Mission Reach—an 8-mile
stretch of the San Antonio River commencing downtown and moving
southward to the San Antonio city limits.

Commissioners Court seized the opportunity to ensure that this phase
of the River improvements would also be completed in a timely
manner. By working through its partnership with SARA, the City and
the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Bexar County became the lead in a
local funding plan. The Commissioners Court committed monies from
the Bexar County Venue/Visitor Tax and the Bexar County Flood Tax
fund for the construction project including recreational and other
amenities along the River to meet the community’s full vision for the
Mission Reach. This, coupled with the City’s efforts for neighborhood
revitalization, and SARA’s commitment to operate and maintain the
completed River improvements, make this a true investment in San
Antonio’s future.

Bexar County, and this area in particular, is grounded by its cultural
legacy. The Spanish colonial resources of San Antonio are focal
points of the River South area. Through an unprecedented
collaborative partnership these tangible assets of our city and nation

will be protected, made accessible, and commemorated in perpetuity
as an inheritance for future generations. This awareness and pride in
our heritage brings the fourth partner, the National Park Service, to
the table. The community is committed to increasing the boundary
of San Antonio Missions National Historical Park to that envisioned
since the 1930s. A proposal has been presented to the United States
Congress by local leaders to increase the boundary of the existing
park lands designated as a national park along the San Antonio River.
The proposal is to establish these parcels as a comprehensive
Spanish colonial site, the largest in the world. This initiative is tightly
timed for completion to meet the National Park Service centennial
anniversary in 2016 and the potential designation as World Heritage

River South is a confluence of opportunities whose time has come.
This Coordinated Management Plan is a program providing an outline
and schedule of activities to ensure implementation and continued
success of the projects and activities for generations to come.

The natural characteristics of the San Antonio River were so
amenable to domestic pursuits that Spanish Franciscans in the early
1700s settled along the banks. The characteristics of the River
resulted in, and left behind, the legacy of the largest concentration of
Spanish colonial missions in the United States. The River South Area
is the home of the oldest continuously functioning Spanish colonial
dam and Acequia in America. The oldest priority water rights in the
State of Texas also originate from mission agricultural use within the
River South Area and continue to influence land use in and around
the missions.

The River has made San Antonio home to the largest collection of
authentic Spanish colonial resources in the United States. These
resources impart who we are as individuals, families, a community,
and as a nation. Within the River South Area the Missions are sacred
places where people experience the spirit of our cultural roots. The
material evidence of a significant piece of our nation’s most
determining time, people, customs, and places can be easily found
throughout the area. The River and the Spanish colonial resources

along its banks have meaning for every American, but are particularly
significant to the people of South Texas as our own legacy.

Since the 1800s, the San Antonio River has experienced flooding
problems due to its geographic location, increasing population, and
its related infrastructure improvements that lead to increasing rainfall
runoff. In 1921 a sudden, hard rainfall over the Olmos Basin and San
Antonio River resulted in over 9 feet of water downstream on
Houston Street, causing flooding that killed 50 people and millions of
dollars in damages (see Figure 1).

River improvement History

Figure 1 – 1921 Flood Damage

In response, the community made historic decisions to implement
flood control measures, the first of which was construction of Olmos
Dam in 1925. The following decades saw improvements to the
downtown segment of the River, including the work of a contingent
of visionaries who saw the River as a benefit. The improvements to
the downtown section–the River Walk–were inspired by Robert H.H.
Hugman. A second devastating flood in 1946 prompted a
comprehensive flood study by the Corps of Engineers completed in
1951. This study recommended the channelization or straightening of

31 miles of the River and its tributaries better known as the San
Antonio Channel Improvement Project (SACIP). This project was
authorized by Congress for implementation by the Corps of Engineers
in 1954.

In 1975, the National Park Service completed a suitability and
feasibility study for a proposed San Antonio Missions National
Historical Park along the San Antonio River. The study found that
―the San Antonio River served as the lifestream of the mission
system.‖ The study noted that little remained of the River’s natural,
untouched state since the Corps of Engineers channelization project,
and that it could never be returned to its authentic historical
appearance. However, the study went on to say that the River was
the ―single most important element influencing the initial location of
the missions‖ and ―the disastrous effects of channelization could be
softened by a large-scale program of relandscaping.‖ In 1978, the
United States Congress created San Antonio Missions National
Historical Park. The River was excluded primarily because of the
significant costs associated with a larger-scale restoration project.

Since that time, SARA has agreed to serve as the local agency and
sponsor with the Corps to oversee river improvements programs.
SARA has partnered with the City of San Antonio and Bexar County
to plan, implement and maintain projects included in the SACIP.

Since the completion of the channelization of the River south of
downtown in the 1970s, the community has benefited from the flood
protection provided by channelization, and continued to desire a
solution that would maintain the flood protection, but allow for the
River to be more than just a drainage ditch. In the 1990s, improved
engineering techniques allowed for the possibility for the River to be
restored to a more naturalized setting without jeopardizing flood
protection. The creation of the community-based vision for
improvements to the River emerged and in 2001 the partners’ scope
of work transitioned from the San Antonio Channel Improvement
Project flood control focus to the broader San Antonio River
Improvements Project (SARIP). The SARIP has evolved today into a
$358.3 million investment by Bexar County, the City of San Antonio,

the Corps of Engineers, the San Antonio River Authority and the San
Antonio River Foundation in flood control, amenities, ecosystem
restoration and recreational improvements for the San Antonio River.
SARA serves as project manager for all sections of SARIP and as local
sponsor with the Corps of Engineers specifically for the Mission

The northern section—Museum Reach—cost $72 million. Project
contributions came from the City ($52.3million), Bexar County ($13.1
million), San Antonio Water System (SAWS; $200,000 for utility line
relocation) and through private donations collected by the San
Antonio River Foundation ($6.5 million). This improvement doubled
the length of the existing River Walk extending the once undeveloped
section of the river north of downtown.

Ecosystem Restoration is the primary focus for improvements on the
8-mile Mission Reach segment. It will replicate the original flow of
the river while maintaining flood control, reducing erosion, re-
introducing native vegetation and creating an environment more
suitable for recreation and wildlife.

Also four key passages, or portals, will allow direct access to each of
the Missions from the River’s edge. These ―Mission Portals‖ will
provide critical links for recreation and enjoyment of both the River
and Missions.

Funding for the $245.7 million Mission Reach project is provided by
Bexar County ($176.6 million), the City of San Antonio ($6.5 million)
and the Corps of Engineers ($51.9 million). Bexar County has
provided $74 million to ensure optimum scheduling in advance of
Corps payments. Other funds include private donations by the San
Antonio River Foundation ($4.7 million), and SAWS utility relocation
funding of $6 million. The Mission Reach project is underway and
being constructed in three phases, with scheduled completion in

Table 1 - Mission Reach (and SARIP) Budget

The Mission Reach remains a federal project with the Corps
responsible for reviewing and approving project design and
construction. The Corps is also responsible for determining the final
reimbursement amount above the local cost share.
The 1933 Comprehensive Plan for San Antonio recommended
connecting the historic Spanish Missions. The importance of
preserving the San Antonio River and linking the Missions became a
key local effort in 1953 by the San Antonio Conservation Society and
Archdiocese of San Antonio. They commissioned Robert H.H.
Hugman to prepare a study to beautify the historic Spanish Missions
of San Antonio. ―It was decided that this goal could be best achieved
by connecting all the missions with a landscaped parkway.‖ In 1959,
a plan was presented by nationally renowned planning consultant,
Sam Zisman, which proposed developing a scenic park roadway. The
program was reinvigorated in 1962 with the Mission Parkway Master

In 1964, the City of San Antonio passed a bond to begin purchasing
lands for a route linking the Missions, and the National Park Service
(NPS) was asked to make further studies of the proposed Mission
Parkway. The NPS submitted recommendations in ―A proposal for a
parkway to memorialize the historical significance of the Missions of
San Antonio.‖ The NPS found that the Missions are:
    ―the noblest and most enduring visible monument of the
       Spanish occupation… .‖
    ―an historical resource of great and unique value.‖
    ―that the Spanish phase of Texas history is significant – to the
       State, to the Southwest, to the Nation.‖
    ―are the best surviving remains of Spanish occupation.‖
Also, it stated that the ―shortage of open space is already critical
along Mission Road and round the missions. The roadsides along
portions of Mission Road can only be described as ugly… .
Fortunately, the San Antonio River has been kept relatively clean.
However, river channelization has essentially ruined the natural
character of the river making it nothing more than a drainage
channel… .‖

The NPS made the following notable recommendations:
   ―every attempt should be made to keep the water clean and
      the banks litter free.‖
   ―Remove the utility lines… .‖
   ―The natural beauty (of the San Antonio River) has been
      destroyed… but consideration should be given… to preserving
      the natural character of the river.‖
The NPS study recommended that a local commission create and
administer the development of a Mission Parkway. It also
encouraged the City of San Antonio to ‖acquire land before the total
destruction of its historic values occurred from development.‖

In 1966, the City of San Antonio issued another bond and received a
grant from the Department of Housing and Urban Development
(HUD) to begin work on the Mission Parkway concept. In 1972, the
San Antonio Chamber of Commerce developed a 5-year plan to
complete the parkway and establish an environment for preserving
the historic Missions of San Antonio. In 1973, the City of San
Antonio completed a plan titled ―The Missions of San Antonio‖ that
resulted in the City’s Historic Preservation Programs and the Missions
Historic Park.

In 1978, the United States Congress created San Antonio Missions
National Historical Park as four units along the Mission Parkway. In
1991, the City of San Antonio passed a ―Mission Trails‖ resolution to
pursue implementing recommendations from previous studies to link
the Missions. In 1993, the City of San Antonio conducted another
Planning Study to find appropriate multimodal ways to link the
Missions and other features including the San Antonio River and
approved the recommendations in Ordinance No. 78775. Since 1993,
over $17 million has been spent on the development of the Mission
Trails, and large areas of the connections are complete. In 2010, the
City of San Antonio and Mission Trails Committee continue to work to
complete the multimodal links between the Missions as the
restoration of the San Antonio River continues.

River south area

The River South Area Coordinated Management Plan promotes
recognition of the River South Area’s historical and cultural
significance, programs for neighborhood and economic revitalization,
eco-system restoration and community connectivity.

The River South area boundaries are extended beyond the City Limits
to the County line. This designation incorporates the National Park
Service boundary study and plan for the Missions as presented to the
Department of the Interior (see map on page 10). The planning area
urban boundaries begin at Lone Star Boulevard on the north,
following south ½ block east of Roosevelt to Eads Avenue, east to ½
block east of S. Presa to Graf Road, then S. Villamain Road to the
San Antonio city limits following up ½ block west of Espada Road to
Ashley Road, thence north along the fence line of Stinson Airport and
following northward along Mission Road to Terrell Road proceeding
west to S. Flores, to IH10 east to King Roger and north to Lone Star
Boulevard (see map on page 11).

     Area description
Just south of downtown, River South is convenient to four
highways—IH 10, IH 37, Loop 410 and IH 35. It is served by several
parks, a golf course and Stinson Airport. Texas A&M campus and
Palo Alto Community College are within commuting distance to

The San Antonio River along this area has withstood a combination of
flood control efforts by the Corps and concerted attempts to provide
River access at southernmost points near the Missions.

Neighborhoods in this area are close-knit, with many homesteads
passing from generation to generation. The strong commitment to
place and family is demonstrated by families working to revitalize
their generational neighborhoods and upgrade longstanding business

Map 1 – River South Redevelopment Area

Map 2 – River South Activity Centers

      Land use
The northern section of the Plan area includes a mix of residential
and commercial uses. South of Riverside Golf Course, the existing
uses are generally more commercial with vacant parcels found
throughout (see map on page 13).

The parcels in the southern portion of River South are commercial or
rural acreage. Much of the property is occupied by Stinson Airport or
salvage yards and contractors’ facilities.

The size of parcels increases and the density of development
decreases going from north to south. The existing pattern of uses
exhibits a lack of consistency, a high potential for conflict between
uses and a high percentage of vacant parcels.

Current zoning districts generally allow for a higher-intensity of
commercial and industrial uses than what is allowed for proximity to
single-family residential uses and the smaller sized lots in existence.

This intensity of land uses has been in effect for most of the 20 th
century. Alternatively, commercial projects have changed to meet
consumer tastes. Larger scale buildings and warehouse style chain
stores with a regional appeal have replaced the traditional mom and
pop neighborhood stores. The larger establishments tend to locate
on arterials with greater traffic capacity and attraction. In contrast,
smaller volume main roadway commercial activity includes budget
motels, bars, auto repair shops and used automobile sales lots. Add
to this, noise, crime and code violations that concentrations of these
activities can produce, and neighbors nearby want change.

As a result, the City has instituted a comprehensive rezoning effort.
It is intended to reduce the intensity of commercial uses currently
allowed and provide for new uses appropriate to the area. Existing,
legally established uses will be grandfathered and considered legally
nonconforming. This will allow for a transition to less intense uses
over time and thus attract visitors and appeal to neighbors.

Map 3 - River South existing land use
River South is an older established area of San Antonio.
Demographic data compiled by the City of San Antonio. Analysis
reveals challenges due to a declining population, lower educational
levels, median income and higher poverty levels when compared to
overall City data. Trend analysis is also useful to track an area’s
growth, stability, or decline and changes in population. This data,
coupled with anticipated 2010 Census data, will provide opportunities
for River South to position itself for funding resources.

Before looking at current data, it is interesting to note the
information provided in the National Park Service’s 1975 boundary
study. That report discusses a slight downturn in population from
the decade earlier and the marked difference in population density
north and south of Loop 410. There was clearly an urban v. rural
delineation at that time with a 2:1 ratio of density per acre.
During that era, one-third of the population was under the age of 18,
with just under 20% over the age of 62.

Map 4 - 1975 Land Use - River South

The 1975 Demographic report also notes that the majority of
residents were employed in craftsman, operatives, laborers, health
care and construction with a much higher average than the City of
San Antonio overall (see map 4 above). Median income was also

lower than the San Antonio average at that time, trailing by an
average of 30-45%. Another statistic telling for the area is the
amount of population below the poverty level: 30% rivaled San
Antonio’s average of 17.5%.

Currently of great concern in the River South neighborhoods, as in all
parts of San Antonio, is the crime rate. While the City’s Burglary
Department tracks overall San Antonio numbers at 32/1000 in River
South to 37/1000 in the City, vehicle theft is slightly higher in River
South at 6.26/1000 compared to San Antonio at 5.08/1000. Robbery
is 4.37/1000 in River South compared to San Antonio at 2.11/1000.
Prostitution is disproportionately higher with a 4.59/1000 rate in
River South and the City reports at .31/1000. Murder is also much
higher with .44/1000 occurrences in River South as opposed to
overall San Antonio numbers at .08/1000. This alone has caused
many neighborhood areas to rally and work for expanded team
efforts with schools, churches, civic organizations and the City for
revitalization to strengthen its viability and discourage criminal

1975 housing characteristics in the area showed a slight shift from
owner to rental units. The average rental units in the City is 35%,
while the River South area rated higher at 45%. Median home value
was less than the City average by $3500.00.

Between 1990 and 2008 the population within this area decreased
slightly (-1%) while San Antonio increased by 37%. Residents within
the corridor are 5% of the City’s total population (approximately
66,000) and density averages 4.92 persons per acre. Median age is
32.7 years, slightly younger than San Antonio’s average of 34 years.
Almost 43% of the population 25 years and older in this area has not
completed high school. (The City averages 20%.) However, the gap
narrows a bit with 31.4% having a diploma compared with the City
average of 28%. Trends for some college and associates degrees
are encouraging with 16% and 3.8% respectively in River South and
the City data at 21% and 6.8%.

Of course, educational attainment ties with income potential and
discretionary spending. This area earns nearly $11,000 less than the
City average--$30,630 v. $41,593. Six percent of families Citywide
live below the poverty level while this area has a 5% overall level or
21.2% of total population.

Housing data shows that most residential structures account for
23% of the land use. They were built during the post WWII era and
have a current median value of $54,843 compared to the City of San
Antonio average of $113,988. Other major land uses in the area
include parks 21%, institutional 22%, and commercial and vacant
land both at 14%.

It is interesting to note that of the two eras, not much has changed.
Population shifts, income and housing data seem to indicate a stable
residential area growing older and slowly taking advantage of
educational opportunities.

Policy guidelines

In 1982, the National Park Service (NPS) published a General
Management Plan (GMP) for San Antonio Missions National Historical
Park (Missions). The GMP stated, ―Beyond the existing authorized
park boundary are lands which are closely associated with the
purposes for which the park was established. Some of these lands,
such as the Labores of San Juan and Espada, contain significant
cultural resources directly related to the missions and still retain their
historical integrity. Other lands may have little historic value, but the
current or potential uses of these lands threaten the integrity of the
park resources and the quality of the visitor’s experience.‖ In 1994,
the NPS produced an updated Missions Land Protection Plan that
state: ―The historic resources within the San Antonio Missions
National Historical Park that have survived the past 250 years need to
be properly protected lest they be lost to adverse and incompatible
modern development. This can only be done through the combined
efforts of the National Park Service, State and local governments, the
Archdiocese, and the public, including the local communities.‖ Little
has been done by the NPS to acquire interest in the lands within the
current park boundary or to add park lands that are significant, but
reside outside the park’s boundary despite having minor boundary
adjustment authority. To ensure the preservation and protection of
the Missions, and investment being made by the citizens of Bexar
County in the Mission Reach of the San Antonio River, it is vital that
the NPS acquire the culturally significant lands associated with the
Missions both inside and outside the existing boundary. Acquisition
of the Mission lands will prevent further loss and ensure the
protection of the river restoration efforts.

Over the years many grassroots efforts have taken hold in the
neighborhoods. Neighborhood planning and general City planning
efforts for guiding positive change in specific areas have been
enacted chiefly by the residents in those areas. The City of San
Antonio has been instrumental in shepherding these efforts into City
Council adopted policies that direct opportunities for such initiatives.
The residents of River South have been and will continue to be active
participants in seeing those changes occur in the next few years.

The City Council adopted its Master Plan policies for San Antonio in
1997. It is intended to provide a framework to guide the
development and implementation of policies to promote an equitable
distribution of benefits and amenities to all its citizens. Specifically it
addresses goals for ―safe, sustainable neighborhoods which offer
economic opportunities, high quality education, adequate and
affordable shelter, health care and recreational amenities.‖ Also, the
Plan promotes a ―vibrant economic climate‖ and ―responsible
protection of the City’s historical, cultural and natural resources.‖
Although the Plan did not specifically address geographic areas, these
principles are used over and over again in all endeavors related to
San Antonio.

The South Central San Antonio Community Plan, adopted in 1999 and
updated in 2003, covers the northern portion of River South to SW
Military Drive. Plan elements cover neighborhood and community
development, community facilities, transportation and quality of life.
Emphasis is on infill development, housing stock and improving the
quality of commercial corridors, including S. Flores and S. Presa

streets, Roosevelt Avenue and SW Military Drive. A chief goal for the
Plan is to ―enhance and improve the Missions, parks and the San
Antonio River‖ through strategies aimed at zoning, safety,
accessibility and restoration.

In 2009, the City Council adopted the Stinson Airport Vicinity Land
Use Plan. The Plan area is south of Military Drive, IH 37 on the east,
Loop 410 on the south and Pleasanton Road, Gladnell Avenue and
Loleta Street on the west. The Plan calls for ―additional measures to
ensure compatible land uses adjacent to the Stinson Airport.‖ The
Plan is also specific regarding opportunities for neighborhoods,
economic development, and cultural and environmental resources ―to
promote future sustainability.‖

The Roosevelt Corridor Reinvestment Plan, adopted in 2009, includes
four registered neighborhood associations in River South—Roosevelt
Park, Riverside South, Mission San Jose and East Pyron/Symphony
Lane. The goal of the Plan is to encourage reinvestment in the
Roosevelt corridor. Seven strategy areas have been identified:
                Leverage River improvements and Mission Drive-In
                Invest in drainage, street and sidewalk
                Phase out high intensity commercial and industrial
                Adopt unifying design standards for new
                Launch community-based initiatives to improve
                  quality of life
                Link existing business and property owners with
                  funding sources
                Create investment opportunities.

These reinvestment strategies are a set of specific actions based on
infrastructure priorities, short- and long-term reinvestment priorities
identified by a community planning team.

Map 5 - River South Zoning Overlay Districts
zoning initiatives in River South include the Mission Historic
District designed to protect the four southernmost Missions–
Concepcion, San Jose, San Juan Capistrano, and Espada, their
acequias and fields, and secondarily the significantpreserved historic
and prehistoric sites in the area.

In August of 2009, City Council adopted the first ever strategic plan
for historic preservation. The Strategic Historic Preservation Plan
objectives include promoting historic preservation as an economic
development tool to help revitalize neighorhoods and commercial
districts, enhance tourism, and manage change. Since the adoption
of the plan, specific recommendations have been implemented to
encourage development. For example, the local tax incentive has
been enhanced to encourage investors to rehabilitate structures
because now the tax incentive remains with the property and could
be used to help sell the property after it has been rehabilitated.

 The United States Congress established the San Antonio Missions
National Historic Park in 1978. Today, the NPS maintains four
Spanish colonial Missions, portions of farms and ranches, two
national historic landmarks, seven acequias and adjacent irrigation
canals and numerous associated historic features. The Park site has
recently been nominated as a World Heritage site. The Park System
has seen a dramatic increase in visitors to over 1.5 million in 2009.
The Bexar County Commissioners Court is leading current efforts to
gain Congressional approval to conduct a Boundary Study to identify
lands suitable for inclusion of historically significant Spanish colonial
resources. Also, the Commissioners Court requested the NPS to re-
evaluate the proposals for a National Mission Parkway stretching from
Mission Concepcion to Mission Espada. The Service will develop a
Land Protection Plan to identify land areas, historic and cultural
resources and the means to acquire them, as part of the boundary

The River Improvement Overlay (RIO) Districts are established to
provide regulatory protections to preserve and enhance the San
Antonio River and its improvements through design standards and
guidelines for properties located near the River. The districts cover
six geographic areas. River South lies in a portion of RIO-4 and all of
RIO 5 and 6. Design objectives for these areas are to enhance the
historic elements while maintaining the residential and rural character
of the specific districts. Each of these districts encourages mixed-
used developments, riverbank restoration, neighborhood services and
family recreation. In 2010 a joint effort of City Council members
whose districts encompass this area requested the RIO District
guidelines be reevaluated to strengthen design requirements (see
map 5 on page 19).

Mission viewsheds will be studied at Council request to protect the
new corridor of the individual Missions.

The South Presa Corridor is the most recent area approved by City
Council for study. On March 28, 2010, staff was assigned to
undertake land use and other background studies necessary to
recommend to Council 1) a corridor overlay district along both sides
of S. Presa between IH10 to the north and SE Loop 410 to the south,
and 2) implement a comprehensive rezoning of the properties
generally located within those boundaries.

Map 6 - River South - TIRZ's
Tax Increment Reinvestment Zones (TIRZ) is a defined area in which
Tax Increment Financing can be used by local governments to
publicly finance needed residential and commercial public
improvements and enhanced infrastructure within the zone.
According to Chapter 311 of the Texas Tax Code, to be designated,
areas must be economically distressed, unproductive,
underdeveloped, or blighted and impair the City’s growth because of
those factors. There are six TIRZ areas in River South: Inner City,
Mission Drive-In, Brooks City Base, Brookside, Mission Creek and
Westside (see map 6 on page 22).

Figure 2 - Inner City TIRZ

Inner City TIRZ #11 is a City–initiated project, designated in 2000. A
portion of its southernmost boundary is in River South. Proposed
developments include land acquisition, streets and drainage, utilities,
sidewalks and other amenities.

Mission Drive-In TIRZ #32 is a City–
initiated project, designated in 2008.
All of TIRZ #32 is in River South.
Proposed developments include a
public library on Roosevelt Avenue,
over 900 single family and
apartment units and one million
square feet of commercial, retail
and office space.

                                         Figure 3 - Mission Drive Inn TIRZ

Figure 4 - Brooks City-Base TIRZ

Brooks City-Base TIRZ #16 is being developed by the Brooks
Development Authority. Designated in 2004, 225 acres are expected
to be developed for commercial activity including relocation of
Southeast Baptist Hospital and 140 acres of park land and multi-
family development.

Brookside TIRZ #7 is
a developer (Bridle
Bit Corporation)
initiated project
covering 86.8 acres
for 371 single family
units. This TIRZ is in
the southwest
portion of River

                         Figure 5 - Brookside TIRZ

Mission Creek TIRZ
#17 is being
developed by HLH
Development, LP.
The 101.6 acre site
was designated in
2004 for an SAISD
school, 448 single
family homes, a
recreational park
and a one acre
portion dedicated to
the city. This area
lies west and north Figure 6 - Mission Creek TIRZ
of Texas A&M
Engineering Service on S. Presa.

Figure 7 - Westside TIRZ

The Westside TIRZ #30 was designated in 2008. The southernmost
border of this TIRZ lies in River South near Clay and Probandt

Most notable among the City of San Antonio policies and guidelines is
the enactment of the Inner City Reinvestment/Infill Policy in
February, 2010. This program is designed to facilitate reinvestment
and development in the inner city. It allows for fees to be waived in
the City’s core target area. Greater incentives for economic
development assistance will be provided in the target areas. A
process for aligning other funding sources to support inner city
revitalization is being developed and a specialized team to assist
development is being created.

Cooperative Agreements have been made over the years among the
San Antonio River Authority, Bexar County and the City of San
Antonio. These partnerships have evolved from the original intent of
the Bexar Regional Watershed Management Program (BRWMP) to
address flooding issues throughout the county in a coordinated
manner. Through these agreements, projects for awareness and
public education, technological improvements, and efficient use of
manpower and resources were implemented.

San Antonio Missions National Historical Park (Missions) is managed
through a series of cooperative agreements with multiple agencies
and organizations. Much of the land within the boundaries of the
Missions is owned by entities other than the National Park Service.
The Missions currently are managed in partnership with:
    Bexar County
    City of San Antonio (Parks, Police, Fire & Airport)
    San Antonio River Authority
    Archdiocese of San Antonio
    San Antonio Conservation Society
    Los Compadres de San Antonio Missions National Historical Park
    Texas Parks and Wildlife Department
    Bexar County Sheriff’s Department

In 2004, the BRWMP local agency partners entered into an
Interlocal Agreement to implement the San Antonio River
Improvements Project (SARIP). The purpose of such an agreement is
to ―provide for one or more agencies to contract with each other for
the performance of governmental functions or services for the
promotion and protection of the health and welfare of the inhabitants
of this State and the mutual benefits of the parties to the agreement‖
(V.T.C.A., Government Code, Chapter 791, the Texas Interlocal
Cooperation Act). This Interlocal Agreement outlined each entity’s
responsibilities for funding, permitting, design, environmental
restoration, construction, and maintenance. The Project includes the
River redevelopment program from the Museum Reach southward to
the Mission Reach segment. SARA serves as the SARIP project
manager and administrator. As the implementation of the SARIP has
continued, the Interlocal Agreement has been amended and recently
was renamed as a Cooperative Agreement and included Bexar
County's additional flood control and visitor tax funding to ensure the
timely completion of the Mission Reach.
River south area coordinated
      management plan

       The plan

 Goals and policy objectives

The plan


River South is an 8-mile stretch of the San Antonio River, adjacent
neighborhoods and home to four of the San Antonio Missions. The
investment of time, funding and improvements at both the street and
River levels is key to this area realizing its full potential as an
attractive, viable corridor.

River South:
                     Connects to the restored Mission Reach
                      segment of the San Antonio River
                      Improvements Projects.

                     Builds on existing neighborhoods, area history
                      and cultural identity.

                     Provides incentives to facilitate reinvestment
                      and development in the Plan area for
                      commercial and housing opportunities.

                     Creates a renewed sense of place attracting
                      area residents and visitors to a variety of
                      recreational, historical, environmental and
                      commercial entities.

Goals and objectives

The River South Coordinated Management Plan outlines three specific
goals and related policy objectives necessary for implementation.
These goals relate to historic and natural resource restoration,
accessibility, recreation, safety, economic development, land use and

Each of these goals and policy objectives provide the foundation for
the Plan’s purpose to:

              1. Maximize the return on investment and promote
                 economic development

              2. Protect the community’s investment in the San
                 Antonio River

              3. Promote the National Parks Service boundary study
                 and land management plan

              4. Establish a coordinated framework among agencies
                 for essential functions.

Following the Goals and Objectives section are recommendations and
action steps that will provide a long-term program for revitalization
and continued participation by all partners.

Goal 1. return

San Antonio’s earliest settlers immediately recognized the wealth of
natural resources necessary for establishing a thriving community.
Springs, creeks, farmland, and a temperate climate all were factors
for San Antonio’s strong position as the leading city for commerce
and growth well into the 20th century.

These natural resources have contributed to the City’s cultural
heritage and growth. The blending of prairie land, plateau and plains
contributes to a landscape crisscrossed with streams and creeks of
available clean water. Edwards Aquifer spring water has been
utilized by the earliest settlers during 17,000 BC to people of current
time. Economic development and growth patterns have evolved over
time. What has remained constant is the community’s proud
commitment to the past, and a growing awareness for dedicated
protection of these unique attributes as a legacy as well as a key to
maintaining the City’s future economic vitality and quality of life.

Policy objectives:

                 A. Preserve and enhance the City’s historic resources.

                 B. Build on San Antonio’s unique history for worldwide

                 C. Protect the community investment in the
                    redeveloped River through ecosystem restoration
                    and flood damage reduction.

                 D. Promote the National Park Service boundary study
                    and land management plan.

                 E. Provide points of access to the River and Missions
                    along the parkway.

Figure 8 – San Antonio Missions and River South

Goal 2. restore

Refocusing the community’s attention to the River South area
provides challenges to restore the ecosystem and the recognition of
the roots of San Antonio’s heritage. River South links the history, the
Missions and the life-blood of the City then and now—the San
Antonio River itself.

Investments in River South through the Mission Reach project
provide for an ecosystem restoration project that will be a premier
environmental, recreational and educational gem. The 8–mile stretch
of the San Antonio and surrounding area reaches from Lone Star
Boulevard south to Mission Espada. The project will be complete in
2013 and will provide the following amenities:

                 Over 15 miles of trails
                 Over 200 picnic tables and benches
                 Six foot bridges for pedestrian access
                 Four pavilions
                 Eight street connections and four Mission portals
                 Planting of 100 native grasses, trees, shrubs and
                  wildflower species including 20,000 young trees and

These features will greatly improve the quality of life for River South
area residents as well as attract new residents and activities.

     Policy objectives:

               A. Restore the unique, rare and significant habitat
                  features of the River South natural environment.

               B. Create user-friendly spaces compatible with the
                  unique natural habitat such as trails, bikeways and
                  other recreational possibilities.

              C. Plan, locate and maintain infrastructure to facilitate
                 and maintain safe, healthy and sustainable
                 environments for human activity.

              D. Encourage      the ecological management of
                 floodplains and promote their use as open space
                 including greenways, wildlife habitat and pedestrian
                 friendly linkage corridors.

              E. Provide support to the National Park Service in its
                 development      and  subsequent      congressional
                 approval for a boundary study and land protection
                 plan for its Spanish Colonial Heritage Program to
                 expand the current Missions National Parks
                 boundaries and to promote the role the restored
                 River has in re-establishing the ecological
                 connections that are essential to fully interpreting
                 the historic life and operation of the Spanish
                 Colonial Missions.

Goal 3. revitalize

Opportunities abound in River South for residential, commercial and
mixed-use projects. New developments and community improvement
efforts will benefit from the programs specifically targeted for the

Although this area now has locational advantages and amenities it is
hampered by existing conditions of land underutilized and pockets of

Rebuilding neighborhoods to ensure their vitality and viability are
chief objectives of the Concept Plan. San Antonio acknowledges that
its growth and attraction is dependent on the quality experienced in
its neighborhoods. This basic premise is a catalyst for promoting
future development, economic prosperity and prudent land use.
Existing neighborhoods are protected and improved through

implementation and enforcement of ordinances coupled with joint
community participation of residents and businesses.

      Policy objectives:

               A. Encourage economic diversity and job creation
                  which are compatible with San Antonio’s natural
                  and cultural resources.

               B. Promote a business-government relationship that
                  addresses the needs of commercial interests to
                  operate in a positive and mutually beneficial

               C. Create an environment of entrepreneurship,
                  productivity and innovation in River South that
                  promote business start-ups and business growth.

               D. Preserve and revitalize existing housing and
                  promote targeted infill for new housing
                  neighborhood improvements.

               E. Implement adopted policies, ordinances and
                  neighborhood plans aimed at offering a diversity of
                  housing choices and a balance of land uses
                  designed to retain and attract both commercial and
                  residential opportunities.

These goals and the objectives that support them are the foundation
of this management plan. The action steps that follow largely will be
implemented by the major parties of the plan – Bexar County, the
City of San Antonio, and the San Antonio River Authority; by the
National Park Service, River South’s new major party; and by other
agencies and entities directly related to the Plan’s initiatives, such as
the Texas Department of Transportation, the San Antonio Water
System, CPS Energy, TIRZ boards, and others. Initiatives emanating
from these parties and entities will be funded as part of the parties’
and entities’ normal course of business and may be incorporated into
future cooperative agreements as described below. Thus, this Plan
does not encompass a budget for implementation.

River south area coordinated
      management plan

       The plan

        Action steps

Recommendations and action steps

The River South Coordinated Management Plan identifies three
specific goals and 15 policy objectives intended to protect, promote
and coordinate its multi-jurisdictional aspects. Each of these goals
and policy objectives is tied to recommendations and subsequent
implementation requirements. They will ensure this area serves as a
catalyst for becoming a place where people from all of San Antonio
will enjoy the experiences created. All who come will share its legacy
as one of the earliest settlements of the nation with visitors from the
Americas and beyond.

Revitalization, as a result of the efforts to return to River South and
restore it to its greatest potential, should encourage diversity in
choices for housing, commerce and compatible land uses. River
South will regain its sense of identity and share its treasures of
history and heritage with all who visit and those who decide to stay.

Key to implementation of the planning effort is the successful
realization of two primary purposes of the Plan:

                     1. Establish coordinated framework         among
                        agencies for essential functions.

                     2. Ensure seamless, integrated management of
                        the River and related areas.


ISSUE: Establish a coordinated agency framework.

TASK:     Prepare an Agreement(s) among major parties with
opportunities for adjunct agencies and affiliated parties to participate
as needed.        These partnerships will facilitate a long-term
management program designed to:

     1. Ensure protection of the investment through long term
        maintenance and operation of the River South and Mission
     2. Revitalize the surrounding areas through community
        heritage-based economic development.
     3. Expand the NPS’s role in the promotion and preservation of
        the largest collection of Spanish colonial resources in
     4. Coordinate, identifying and appropriating new funding
        sources where such are determined necessary.
     5. Create a timeline and budget to implement action items.

governance structure

The River South Area Coordinated Management Plan contains
recommendations and action steps for land use, infrastructure,
economic and cultural development action in the Mission Reach area.
It also proposes a process to link these elements into a synergistic
implementation plan. That process centers upon establishing a
coordinated agency framework. The primary task is preparation of
an agreement among the major partners with opportunities for
adjunct agencies and affiliated parties to participate as needed.

The foundation of the Plan’s agreement incorporates a governance
structure modeled after the San Antonio River Improvements Project
(SARIP). It will be redefined to establish necessary program roles and
requirements to implement the Plan’s Vision for River South
Redevelopment Area and the Mission Reach.

Key components of the governance structure include:

     a. Committee of Eight:         This committee will focus on
     coordinating policy issues of the participating government
     agencies and will consist of the following:

         Two Commissioner’s Court Appointments
         Two City Council Appointments
         Two SARA Board Appointments
   Two Congressional Appointments to represent the NPS
   Ex officio representation by co-chairs of SAROC.

b. Management Committee:       This committee, which is a
modification of the SARIP’s Executive Committee, will expand
its scope from managing the SARIP construction project to
maximizing the broader programmatic and operational benefits
of the Mission Reach/River South project. Each agency listed
below will designate two administrative-level staff with
decision-making authority to sit on the Management

   Bexar County: Executive Director of Infrastructure
    Services and/or designee
   City of San Antonio: City Manager and/or designee
   San Antonio River Authority: General Manager and/or
   NPS: Superintendent and/or designee

c. San Antonio River Oversight Committee: This committee will
remain at 22 members and will continue to serve as an
advisory committee. It will create a River South Subcommittee
similar to the Park Segment Subcommittee. The River South
Subcommittee’s membership will include San Antonio River
Oversight Committee (SAROC) organizations that represent
River South interests and will add non-SAROC members that

     Business within the River South Area
     Neighborhood Plans
     San Antonio River Foundation
     School Districts
     TIRZ Boards
     Others

     d. River South Subcommittee: This new subcommittee’s focus
     will be to provide reviews and advice to Bexar County, the City
     of San Antonio, SARA and the National Park Service, and
     specifically to:

         Review RIO (River Improvement Overlay), UDC, and
          other City ordinances that affect the River
         Oversee process by which Plan assessments and
          deliverables, identified under Action Items/Responsible
          Parties below, are completed.

e. Technical Resource Committee: Plan implementation may require
targeted or issue-specific agreements with other governmental
partners such as SAWS, CPS and TxDOT. To coordinate interagency
agreements and the work emanating from them, the San Antonio
River Authority, in its capacity as Project Manager, will form a multi-
agency Technical Resource Committee as a subcommittee of the
SARIP Management Committee. Agency representation will be
determined by each involved government partner and may vary
depending upon the matter at hand. The Technical Resource
Committee will make recommendations on policy issues and other
coordination matters to the Management Committee, depending on
the topic, issues may also be presented to the ROC subcommittee for
input and to the Committee of 8 for recommended action by the
respective governmental bodies.

ACTION ITEMS/Responsible Parties

The recommendations and action steps below will provide a long-
term program for revitalization and continued participation by all
partners and will be overseen and implemented through the
governance structure described above.

Operational Agreement (Targeted Approval: January 2011)

     a. Establish an intergovernmental operational partnership that
     builds on existing SARIP agreements between the County, City
     and SARA and adding the NPS for its role.
     b. Designate SARA as the local governmental coordinating
     agency, as part of its established Operation and Maintenance
     duties, to provide administrative and coordination support to
     meet the goals and objectives of the River South Plan.

     c. Detail the roles and responsibilities of each of the
     governmental entities (City, County, SARA and NPS) in the
     implementation of the River South Plan. Include provisions in
     the agreement that will allow development and implementation
     of intergovernmental agreements, as necessary, with other

Assessments and Action Plans (Targeted Completion: within 18
months of Plan approval by Bexar County Commissioners Court, the
City of San Antonio, and the SARA Board of Directors)

Assess and/or develop the following:

         River Maintenance Expectations and Standards
         River Recreational Plan and Implementation Strategy
         Security Needs Assessment
         Neighborhood Needs Assessment
         Infrastructure Needs Assessment
         Economic Development
         Educational Plan
         Events Marketing Plan.

     The general role, responsibilities, and timeline for Plan
     implementation will be identified in more detail through the
     Operational Agreement and are outlined below:

              i. Protection, maintenance and operation for River
                 South Maintenance/ecosystem and user

 Operation of recreational amenities—SARA
 Marketing and Public Education—SARA
 Security—City, County and NPS
 Ordinance Review/Coordination—City, SARA,
 County and NPS
 Missions access—NPS, City, SARA

ii. Revitalize  through   community      economic

       Asylum Creek—Brooks Development Authority
       Asylum Creek, S. Presa Corridor—State
       Lighting and power transmission—CPS Energy
       Railroad crossings—Union Pacific Railroad
       Recycled water and utility lines—SAWS
       Transportation—City, TXDOT

    Economic Development:
       Employment and jobs creation—City, County
       Compatible infill business—City
       Development regulations/Zoning—City,
       Development incentives—City, County

  Neighborhood Revitalization:
      Housing—City, County
      Connection to River, Parks, History and
      Recreation—SARA, City, County and NPS

  Access to and through River South Corridor:
      Roads and Parkway—City, SARA, NPS and

            Trails—SARA, City, County and NPS
            Public Transit—VIA

       Identification of targeted roles of Community Non-
       Profit Organizations and Private Sector
       Organizations – SARA, City, County and NPS

iii.   Spanish Colonial Resource Protection, Preservation
       & Education

             Historic Resource Preservation—NPS
             Colonial and Texas Republic Assets
             Cultural and Natural Landscapes
             Aesthetics and Ambience

iv.    Prepare Funding Source Development Program–
       City, County, SARA, NPS

v.     Develop operation timelines and budgets for
       activities determined—County, City, SARA

Table 2 - River South Governance Structure

Recommendations for River South Subcommittee

     Proposed River South Subcommittee
     Recommended from Current River Oversight Committee
     Organization Representation
1    Archdiocese of San Antonio
2    Los Compadres
3    Mission Reach Subcommittee
4    Roosevelt Park Neighborhood Association
5    San Antonio Conservation Society
6    San Antonio Parks Foundation
7    San Antonio River Oversight Committee Co-chair
8    San Antonio Tourism Council
9    San Juan/Espada Neighborhood
10   San Jose Neighborhood
11   South San Antonio Chamber of Commerce
     Recommended from Additional Organization Representation
12   Harlandale Park Neighborhood Association
13   Mission Drive-In TIRZ
14   River South Area Economic Development
15   River South Area Small Business
16   San Antonio River Foundation
17   South Central Alliance of Neighborhoods

Table 3 - River South Subcommittee

Appendix – list of illustrations
Figure    1   - 1921 Flood Damage ..................................................... 3
Figure    2   - Inner City TIRZ ........................................................... 23
Figure    3   – Mission Drive Inn TIRZ................................................ 24
Figure    4   – Brooks City-Base TIRZ ................................................ 24
Figure    5   - Brookside TIRZ ........................................................... 25
Figure    6   - Mission Creek TIRZ ..................................................... 25
Figure    7   - Westside TIRZ ............................................................ 26
Figure    8   - San Antonio Missions and River South……….…………………36

Table 1 – Mission Reach (and SARIP) Project Budget…………………….6
Table 2 – River South Governance Structure……………………………….44
Table 3 – River South Subcommittee………………………………………….45

Map   1   –   River South Redevelopment Area…………………………………..10
Map   2   –   River South Activity Centers………………………………………….11
Map   3   –   River South Existing Land Use……………………………………….13
Map   4   –   1975 Land Use – River South………………………………………..14
Map   5   –   River South Zoning Overlay Districts………………………………19
Map   6   –   River South – TIRZ’s…………………………………………………....22

Bibliography - Resources

San Antonio Master Plan Policies, May 29, 1997.

San Antonio River Improvements Fact Sheet, San Antonio River

San Antonio Development Incentive Toolkit Definitions.

City of San Antonio, Historic Preservation website, Historic and
Zoning Districts.

Roosevelt Corridor Reinvestment Plan, 2009.

South Central San Antonio Community Plan, August 19, 1999.
Amended, October 26, 2005.

Stinson Airport Vicinity Plan, 2009.

Tax Increment Reinvestment Zone description handouts.

San Antonio River Improvement Plan Interlocal Agreement, 2006.

Strategic Historic Preservation Plan, 2009.

Proposed San Antonio Missions National Historic Park: Alternatives
for Implementation, National Park Service, 1975.

Figure 9 - Fishing along River Banks


To top